Saturday, September 29, 2007

mornings at the babu household

Mother is busy working in the kitchen, rolling out parantha after parantha for breakfast, managing chai on one hand and lunch on the other. Father is doing his elaborate morning pooja with flowers accompanied by mantras in Sanskrit.(I've asked him if they make sense to him and he shakes his sadly and says ,'We never asked such questions of our parents. I think it's the problem with your generation itself.') My sister and I are fighting a territory battle over whose time slot it is to use the hair dryer over the sound of Paradise City playing in the background.(We both suffer from the condition of large hair. We need zen with our hair.)
Over the din from the kitchen and our noises, Father stops his 'Om shive namaha' and turns, 'Who were you talking to at 1 a.m. in the night yesterday?'
'Friend.' I say.
'Who're these friends of yours who don't sleep by 1? Don't they have families?'
'They're not married.' I'm still not sure what dangerous turn this conversation could take. (As a rule, I avoid the word 'marriage' in front of them.)
'You don't have a boyfriend, do you?'
'No Dad. I'll let you know, if that happens.'
'Just make sure he earns well.' Mom pipes in. She has stopped her parantha rolling too. 'She has so many friends, and yet not a boyfriend. How difficult can it be', she is mumbling while resuming her parantha rolling.
'She was talking to a friend,' Dad yells out to Mom. 'Om haraye namaha. Om suryaya namha. Om khagaya namaha.'...

Monday, September 24, 2007

how to avoid mass hysteria

Ok I'm not a cricket buff. Worse still, I couldn't be interested in the historic Indo-Pak final of the 'world cup' (It's not a real world cup for chrissake!). And if you're still not disgusted, I was writing this during some of the most engrossing moments of the match. (I can hear the drum beats and my sister yelling at the top of her voice every 13 seconds). So if you belong to my dwindling tribe of disbelievers, here are some tips on how to avoid getting hurt on such a hysterical day.

  • Avoid places where people have gathered. This means roads(though people would be huddled around TVs), offices (nobody will turn up anyway though), your living room(lest your cricket crazy family think you're unlucky because a wicket is toppled everytime to come to the fridge)

  • Avoid talking about it. Consider diverting the topic to global warming, or the problems of migratory birds at the delhi zoo.

  • Do not, I repeat, do not get into an argument with a cricket crazy fanatic(that practically means everyone you know. Trust no one.)You might not get to escape unhurt. A fanatic will usually know most of the cricketing statistics of most batsmen, would have watched the previous matches with popcorn and soda and would twitch at the mere mention of your indifference.

  • Get ear plugs. I'm sure my tribe feels like the dogs on Diwali. Just that you wouldn't hide under the bed.

  • Do not be afraid of being hated. Being the lone wolf is good practice for more important things in life. You've got to stand up alone, even if it means getting pushed over, be thought of as anti-Indian(and what's that about), and generally the 'what's-wrong-with-her' looks. More importantly do not be afraid of watching only the part of the match where the hot cricketers(if there are any) take off their shirts.

  • Being cricket apathetic in India is like being the guy who hates puppies. Seriously, do you want to be that guy? If you still can't convince yourself otherwise, there's always the BE-YOURSELF advice. Just avoid people that day.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

the end of an era

My best friend is getting married. And I can't believe that I'm losing her. To a BOY. So this is how it'd usually be between us. And they're snippets from different times. So they won't completely make sense.

Me: I can't believe he's behaving like this again. Why's he so unpredictable?
Her: I can't believe my boss is such an ass.
Me: I need to run away from home. My folks are asking me to meet some guy from the U.S.
Her: Why does he not respect me?
Me: I can't manage more than 3.0 in this term. I think I'll always be average.
Her: You're the one who's turning him into a psycho.
Me: And how? Why do you judge me so much?
Her: Why do you say I judge you? I just finish sentences for others.
Me: I'm just getting this thing about driving.
Her: It's like a life philosophy. The way you are, is the way you drive.
Me: ( my head)

Her(at ISB): Why is this place all about grades?
Me(in real world): Noone's going to care about your grades, including you, after this year. I assure you.
Me(at ISB): Why is this place all about grades?
Her(in real world):Noone's going to care about your grades, including you, after this year. I assure you.

Me: I can't believe you're getting married.
Her: I know. Marry me(in yelping tones). I can't live in a boy's house.
Her: I hope our husbands get along. So please don't marry ABC, or DEF. I don't know why you like such weak men who won't stand up for you.
Me: I think I'll have to join a sisterhood.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

don't mess with retired old men

Yes. Especially if they like correspondence. And if they've worked in the banking industry for 25 years. And if you happen to be a bank.

My dad is famous for drawing moustaches on pictures(women, men), and writing notes to me signed "Yours affectionately, Suresh Babu", cracking jokes and laughing till he tears up, but lately he's also getting quite a reputation with the consumer courts, the telephone industry(read MTNL), the banks(South Indian Bank and Bank of India) for following up with the most comprehensive paperwork and persistence. And their paying big time for their shoddy service. Not monetarily, atleast not yet.

He loves corresponding. (I can't explain weirdness. It runs in my family.) The CEOs are often surprised to get a copy of the complaint with immaculate proof of mismanagement. If this was the US, he'd be winning us enough compensation by suing everyone to make me a millionaire.

So I don't know which industry he's taken upon himself to clean up. But whatever that is, they'd better be wary of a small old, really really cute gentleman with a lot of energy, and armed with a pen.

janmashtami in delhi

We (the women of the family) set out to visit all the little nooks and crannies around the locality where Janmashtami is celebrated in full fervor. There were children and dogs, cows and grannies, coy girls dressed up and walking in bunches, rickshaws and pedestrians, and noisy hawkers. At each little nook, there were children dressed up as krishna and radha, or shiva. Most of them were busy eating cheetos or other such snacks unheard of at the time of krishna's birth. As their parents continued to indulge their whims by supplying them coke and chips, they'd smile benevolently at the visitors. Other former brats were on their best behavior serving prasad. After we collected little paper packets of prasad, we were on our way to the temple. (And my sister noticed, Ganesha's idol was wearing a skirt similar to the ones the godesses wore). Somebody had misplaced their wallet. And as I left the temple, I noticed to my amusement that my slippers were missing too. It's reassuring when some things remain the same.